Yes We Can…Sell You Stuff

The Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama: historic moment in world history… and sales opportunity

As The Independent reports, “Starting this weekend, more than 10,000 buses as well as countless cars, trains and planes will ferry upwards of 4 million people into Washington, DC” to be there when it finally happens – the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the USA.

Waiting for them, according to the New York Times, will be a small army of merchandise hawkers flogging everything from T-shirts to tote bags to Barack Obama Inauguration Hot Sauce.

But it’s not just small time opportunists who are hoping to cash in on the Obama effect – big brands and media organisations are horning in on the moment too.

As AdAge says “No major media company will miss out on President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration as they swarm Washington in hopes of cashing in on an otherwise bleak first quarter.”

As well as the usual newspapers and networks, MTV is planning to cover the ceremony on four channels while QBC will be making a range of characteristically fine merchandise available to viewers during a special show from Washington.

Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has a new flavour

And Pepsi is trying to link it’s new logo to the President’s campaign identity

But it’s Ikea that really seems to have gone the extra mile. Its Embrace Change 09 campaign, from Deutsch, has covered Washington with billboard ads, posters and bus-wraps carrying election campaign-style calls to arms including The Time For Domestic Reform Is Now and Change Begins At Home.

At Washington’s Union Station, Deutsch has installed a mock-up of the Oval Office as if decked out in Ikea furniture (let’s hope Obama is handy with an Allen key)

Photo: C Payne

And a website which goes live as soon as Obama is sworn in will encourage users to create their own layout for the seat of power.

Although it’s also been slammed for driving a mock presidential motorcade around the city composed of two SUVs and a limo (not exactly doing wonders for its green claims) with IKEA boxes strapped to the roof and furniture protruding from the boot.

As Adrants notes, this stampede to exploit a great moment in history is all a little wince-inducing but we have to admit Ikea’s chutzpah raises a smile

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